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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't Trust Feelings

I'm feeling very lonely this week. I feel selfish for feeling that way. I think it's all part of the facade, and I KNOW it's a facade, of being Superwoman. I know there's no such thing. I've known that for a very long time and I've never professed to be that person. It's just that I'm a Virgo, and that alone comes with so many burdens. I know, Godsakes, that I'm anything but perfect. Yet I find that I function as if there is no other option for me. I'm always trying to be everything for everyone. Sometimes at the risk of what is good for me. I'm not complaining, I'm just acutely aware of it. I've tried hard to let be what will be and roll with the flow, and the honest truth is I've made great strides in that regard. Sometimes there is no choice, so letting go is just easier.

In the last week or two, I've put off getting my ultrasound and CT done because other things were going on. The insurance company made putting it off easy because they had to pre-authorize the CT, so I had no choice but wait. But I have to admit that I did cancel one appointment, using the excuse that I HAD to work. Which is not the case because Wes is always right there to cover and so great about putting family first. To be honest; I put it off because I was scared. Despite the fact that everyone told me "it's no big deal," I was afraid. Here, I'd just spent an hour on the phone telling my daughter that her upcoming doctor appointment was no big deal and she shouldn't worry, while I put off my own tests out of sheer terror. I know that all I had to do was ask Charlie to go with me, and he would have gladly done so. Instead, I put on the brave, big lie of a facade that I didn't think it was a big deal either and didn't ask for my beloved to come and hold my hand. Why? Because he was having a really bad week at work and I didn't want to add to his stress. In my crazy head, someone else is ALWAYS more important than me. This is one of my biggest flaws; that I believe that everyone else has more value than myself.

I went yesterday to have my tests done. I was lonely there. That's my own fault. The IV hurt and I didn't really listen to what the technician was telling me was going to happen. That's my own fault. I went home after because the white stuff they make you drink was making my tummy sick. The house was empty, except for sweet Ellie who met me at the door, tail wagging as always. I sat down for a minute and hugged her and I cried. I don't know why. Because I felt lonely, and dammit, that's my own fault.

I went and took a nap and when I woke up Caris and Bry were home and asked me how I was. Out came that brave face with a smile. "I'm fine. Everything's fine." What I really wanted was a hug. But I didn't ask for one because I know that Caris is in finals hell (and Facebook heaven) for a class, and Bry was in textbook buying hell (and, again Facebook). Crap, even Facebook makes me feel like a lonely outsider, not one of the popular kids, a nobody. I really hate Facebook. Really. Hate. Facebook. That's something I CAN'T change. I wish I could explain that, but no one would really understand. Besides, that's another story for another day. The bottom line is; in my mind, everyone else is always more important than me. So, instead of telling my kids how I was really feeling, I was stupidly silent and didn't ask for my hug. Which I KNOW would have been generously and freely given. Even if I'm not on Facebook. Did I mention that I hate Facebook?

They told me that the test results would be at my doctor's office in two days and I should call and make an appointment. I didn't because in two days, I will be in Hawaii. My mom is ill and I need to go home. Again, I can wait because there is something more important than me and my stupid gall bladder, if that's what all this is about.

When I feel like this, EVERYTHING is always exaggerated. I think stupid, paranoid thoughts. Did I do something to offend someone? Did I say something wrong? Is that why so and so doesn't call, or write, or visit? Etc. Etc. It goes on and on in a vicious circle. I KNOW that I cannot trust these feelings. I also know I can't stop them. They come. I just try to ignore them, put on the brave face and move along. Still, I feel lonely today. That's my own fault. But right now, I just can't help it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Equal Time

January break is over and some of Bry's friend have gone back to college. He and his "core" group of buddies remain in town as they attend our local JC. One of the "musketeers", John, attends ASU and left this past weekend. A couple of nights ago, the guys were bored and missing their Arizona bud, and so they decided to make him a little video. Bry showed it to me yesterday. I laughed my ass off, but thought it was just me cuz, well, you know, I'm the mom. But I showed it to Caris and her friend Luke, who laughed their asses off and put it on Facebook. She said; "You know, sometimes he drives me nuts and I can't stand him...but sometimes, like this, he's just so stupidly funny."

As much as he hates musical theater because he was surrounded by it his whole life with two sisters who make it their world, I just have to say, I think it's rubbed off whether he wants to admit it or not.

I present..The Blue Man Crew for ASU, starring Bryson, Jeff, and Edgar. As my friend Rick the retired cop says, "If this is the worst they do, I'd say you raised some great kids." I concur.

Friday, January 23, 2009

She's Going To Kill Me

A few days ago, Averie was ushering audience members into the Tonight Show when a woman motioned for her to come over. Thinking that she was going to ask her a question about NBC, the Tonight Show, or Jay Leno, Averie approached the woman and her party:

Averie: Yes Ma'am? Can I help you?

Woman: Where do I know you from?

Averie: Um..I don't know. Are you from Costa Mesa?

Woman: No. From tv. Don't I know you from television?

Averie: I don't think so.

Woman: (looking at A's nametag) Averie. I know that from somewhere. (Light going on) Are you the Averie from the Ellen Degeneres show? The girl that runs from bees?

Averie: (shocked) Oh my God! That was 5 years ago! How can you possibly remember that?

The woman and her party are now very excited and jumping up and down.

Averie: (quietly) Oh Ma'am please...None of my co-workers know, and I'd really like to keep it that way. They will tease me incessantly and make my life hell. Can we please keep this between us?

Woman: Oh Sweetie, of course! But I'm a HUGE Ellen fan and we were totally rooting for you. Can I have your autograph?

Averie: (shyly) Really? Me?

Woman: Oh yes! Please!

The woman and her friends proceeded to ask a million questions about the outcome of the segments, thanked Averie for the fun, and then A showed them to their seats. She called me...still stunned that anyone even remembered her after five years. The power of Ellen and television.

If you'll excuse me, I need to go find a good hiding place because when she sees I've posted this..she's going to kill me. That's the risk of being a proud Mama. Enjoy the show. I know I did!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cupcake Math

I made red velvet cupcakes on Tuesday. One, to celebrate the inauguration and two, to celebrate the 29th anniversary of the day Charlie and I met (Happy Anniversary Chooch!). I made TWO dozen. There are FOUR of us living in this house, and THREE of us each had ONE cupcake. As of this morning, there are TWO cupcakes left. ONE of us has a non-stop, high-rev, metabolic system and TWO hollow legs. Guess who? Needless to say, his sister is unamused.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Gall of it All

It seems that my gall bladder has decided to rear its ugly head. I'd never had symtoms of gall bladder problems before, even though I'm in the "4F Risk Factor" range:

Forty or over
Family History

I thought, erroneously so, that I might have been lucky enough to skip through unscathed. Especially since I've lost 50 pounds in the last four months. Seems that quick weight loss can trigger gall stones. I wasn't even sure I was having a problem until last weekend. The first incident was two months ago. I thought it was the flu. Then it happened again, and I figured I couldn't have the flu again so quickly, so I assumed that maybe my band was too tight, or something was stuck in it, or I maybe ate more than I should have. So I was very careful, measured every bite, chewed everything to mush before swallowing. Still, I had another "attack". Four times in the last month.

Last weekend, I was visiting my sister and I mentioned to her how often I was getting "the flu". She asked what my symptoms were and I told her. She said; "Oh Honey, that's not the flu. That's your gall bladder! Crap.

So I get home and make an appointment with my doc and he schedules an ultrasound and CT scan. Now I wait to hear from the damn insurance company whether they will authorize the procedures and just pray that I don't have another painful attack. I'm being a very good girl and eating only non-fat things, which is boring, but I'm so completely gun-shy now that honestly, I just don't want to eat at all. I guess that's a good thing where the diet is concerned.

On top of all this, my mom is back in the hospital in Hawai'i, and so my sister and I are trying to figure out when we can get over there to help out. Fingers crossed, everything will be fine, but right now, we're just not sure. Good thoughts everyone...good thoughts.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dear BORED-er Patrol, Fuck You.

Dear California Border Patrol:

While I realize that you have a monumental, often dangerous task at hand in keeping our borders safe from encroachment by illegal aliens and drug smugglers, I wonder if you find entertainment when you're bored by abusing your power.

For many years, we have crossed over the California/Tijuana border and spent countless enjoyable hours at friends homes in Rosarito Beach and Puerto Nuevo. Yes, we have heard the many horror stories about carjackers and corrupt Mexican Policia and Federales. But we have never experienced anything but the warmth and hospitality of the beautiful Mexican people. Our kids have learned Spanish and have been taught to be respectful and to never be those "ugly Americans". They have learned to love the land and the people. Never once have we been stopped at the border for more than a few minutes, mostly to check MY papers because I appear to be Hispanic and must prove my U.S. birth.

So for the first time, we allow our sons to make the journey on their own for a weekend of surfing. Three friends, all honor students and scholarship recipients, one of whom speaks four languages fluently at the young age of 18. They call us everyday of the weekend to share with us their experiences; the awesome surf, the friendly locals who told them where they could catch lobster from their surfboards, the Mexican policia who taught them where and how to dig for clams and then helped them cook their catches and shared their dinner. The guitar jam sessions by a beach fire and a few cold beers with other surfers after a great day of surfing. They even ask if they can stay another day since its still college break and there's no hurry to get home. Sure, they got approached by some locals wanting to sell them some smoke, but other than the fact that none of these three dig weed, why risk everything and be stupid? Why take the chance of losing your hard-earned scholarships? Why worry your parents? Especially in a foreign country. These are THEIR words, not mine.

It must have been a very slow, boring day for you folks at the border Monday morning. My son called me at 8 am to tell me that they were just at the border, on the Mexico side, and that they'd be home in about an hour and a half, reiterating what a great time they had and how they'd already planned another weekend. The hours passed; two, three, four, with no word from our boys. Finally at noon, my son calls to tell me, in very heated terms of the nightmarish ordeal they went through at the hands of your "Homeland Security" officers, and how they had only just been released.

Yes Sir, here's our passports. No Sir, we have no contraband. Yes Sir, we've only been surfing at Baja Mal and Puerto Nuevo. Yes Sir, my friend's dad's casita is there. He says they were respectful and answered all their questions, and still, they were sent aside for a "random" search. After being detained for an hour, my son asks why they're being held, told to shut up and given his "Miranda" rights. When the officer tells him he has the right to remain silent, he asks if they're being placed under arrest, requests to call his parents, and again told to shut up.

Another two hours pass and my son and his buddies, who have been separated and put into separate rooms, are getting nervous, again asking to call their parents, and again are told to shut up. They are searched, just short of a body cavity search. An officer tells my son to "not react" while he massages my son's genitals, and when my son DOES react, the officer squeezes down on his scrotum, just for good measure.

A female officer tells them that they KNOW that they have weed, it's just a matter of time before they find it in the car. They might as well confess and tell them where it is and it will save time. When the boys tell them that there is no weed, that they don't smoke, and that they only had a few beers on their weekend, she calls them liars; "We know your type." Meanwhile, they can see out the window that officers are tearing apart my son's friend's truck; throwing their surfboards to the ground, dumping all of their gear, opening bags of potato chips and dumping them all over the inside cab of the truck. Throwing their guitars to the ground, damaging them. All the while, the boys say these protectors of our security are smugly snickering, as if they are enjoying themselves.

Four hours later, the female officer tells them that they are being released, and lectures them about "rich kids who think they can smuggle dope across the border". Hmmm..sounds like profiling to me. She tells them the reason that they were pulled aside in the first place is that their dog "lit" while sniffing their truck. All three of the boys say that the drug dogs were nowhere near them at any time, not that it would make a difference because they obviously had no dope. Agents just had to come up with some excuse to entertain themselves for a few hours and why not fuck with these three boys. After they are released, it takes them another hour to clean up the mess inside the truck and reload their damaged surfboards, guitars, and the rest of their gear, while the officers who tore the truck apart stood by and laughed.

I'm not one of those parents who think their kids do no wrong when they're not in my presence and I punish when punishment is due. But I know my son and I know his friends. These are good boys. Boys from homes of hardworking parents. Boys who appreciate what they have and don't take for granted the simple pleasures in life. These are boys who say "Yes Sir," and "No Ma'am," and know that the proper response to "Thank You" is "You're Welcome". These are boys who have been taught to respect authority, who open doors for women, and help a stranger in trouble. These are not spoiled rich kids. These are boys who are trusted because they have earned that trust. And yet, these boys were abused by people whom they have been told they could trust.

You hear all the time about kids who are always in trouble, but you don't always hear about the good kids. Here in front of you were some good kids, and you treated them like criminals for your entertainment. That's the kind of shit that turns good kids into bad kids. No good deed goes unpunished. Why be good when you get treated like crap by people who are supposed to be protecting you? How do we tell our kids that your jobs are thankless and hard and that they should respect you when you pull crap like this?

You abused your power and position. For the hours you spent needlessly harrassing these boys, how many people truly worthy of your attention slipped through? What is it you're protecting again? I would like to believe that for every bad officer, there are 50 good officers. I would like to believe it, but right now I don't. So to those officers who had a good laugh at my kid's expense...fuck you.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

God Bless My Daddy

This is a repost from January 7th, 2005. My dad would have been 72 today.

Pua and Daddy (who just returned from Vietnam) 1966

Happy Birthday Daddy

Today is my father's birthday. He's 68 years old. This is the father that helped raise me...when he was home. United States Navy, Personnelman First Class, now retired. Since I was basically raised an only child, he was my best friend. He'd play Monopoly Marathons with me, taught me to play the ukulele, introduced me to The Harmonicats and Big Band music. He was just a big kid in that 6'5" 210 pound frame. Wherever he was stationed, he always found the time to play with me. I never had to ask twice, much to my mother's dismay. Whenever we'd laugh too loud for too long, my mom would always yell; "Alright you two, take five!" I lived for those days. He was my hero.

We never stayed in one place longer than 3 years at a time. By the time I was 10, I found myself afraid to make friends. I always knew I'd love them, and then I'd have to leave them. I was awkward, introverted, and painfully shy (now I'm just painful!)But, I always had my daddy.

Sometimes, when my dad would be deployed, I often thought he wouldn't come home. I remember once, before he left for a tour of duty in the Tonkin Gulf, we watched a Shirley Temple movie together. The Little Princess. In it, Shirley's military daddy was going away and she recited this poem:

"My Daddy has to go away.
But he'll return again someday.
Any moment, I may see,
My Daddy coming home to me."

From that day on, my dad and I would always say that together whenever he shipped out. He shipped out a lot. I missed him a lot. From wherever he was, whether it was a carrier in the Pacific, or a base on dry land in Asia somewhere, he always wrote to me. I have a steamer trunk full of letters from exotic locales. Love letters from my dad to my mom, and from my mom to my dad. Letters from my dad to me. You could tell that he would adjust his communications with me to suit my age and ability. Before I could read, he would draw cartoons which he would send to me so that I could color them, and send them back to him. When I could read, he had my mother send him some of that "kindergarten ruled" paper, and he'd write his letters really big, leaving spaces for me to practice under his written letters, and my mom would send them back to him. Considering there was only "snail mail" back then, the magnitude of the committment to writing is staggering to me when I look at the contents of that trunk today. Stacks and stacks of letters, which my mother lovingly tied into batches with ribbon, and stored in chronological order. On top of each stack, she put a piece of paper with the name of my dad's ship or his place of duty.

In the 60's, when he was stationed on the USS Oriskany, he had a small reel-to-reel tape recorder, and he'd tape himself playing the ukulele, singing, and laughing with some of his shipmates. He'd send those tapes home to us. I remember how my mother's face lit up when we listened to them. I had just turned 6, and in October of 1966 my mother received a telegram telling her that my father's ship had caught fire during it's second deployment in Southeast Asia. There were casualties, but information was vague. They didn't say if my father was one of those casualties. For the following 2 months, we didn't know and the Department of the Navy wasn't helping much. I was pretty young, and even though she put up a strong front, I could sense my mother's pain.

When I was a child, I had the faith of a child. I trusted someone was listening and along with my prayers, I'd sing:

God Bless my Daddy,
Who's over there.
Says a tiny little voice,
in her tiny little bed.

God Bless my Daddy
Oh please, take care.
Says a tiny little voice,
in her tiny little bed.

For this is the night,
Mommy turns out the light.
Oh how I wish you were here,
So I could kiss you goodnight.

I hope in DreamLand,
We'll meet somewhere.
Says a tiny little voice
in her tiny little bed.

On Christmas morning in 1966, my mother woke me up and told me that Santa had been to visit. I remember thinking that all I really wanted was my daddy to be home. When I walked into our little living room, he was standing there next to the tree. They'd sent him home. He was safe and he was home. I still recall that Christmas as the best Christmas ever. I believed in Santa for many, many years after that.

It wasn't the last time he went away. There were more deployments after that and more transfers. My father retired when I was 16. He said he stayed in as long as he did so that I could see the world. And see the world I did. Or a lot of it anyway. I didn't understand it back then and I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have. In fact, it made me angry because I just wanted to stay in one place and make some lasting friendships. I hated packing all the time and I hated moving. But I was the only one complaining. My mom never complained. She just went about the business of being a military wife. Taking care of what needed taking care of. I know how hard it was for her, which makes me admire Tuna Girl so much. It's a damn hard job.

I knew when I was a teenager that I didn't have what it takes to be a military wife. It speaks volumes that I married a guy who was born in the same city that we now live in. When I met Charlie and I told my dad that I was dating a civilian, he smiled and said, "Yeah, I kinda figured you'd go that route." He understood me. He gave me the world wrapped in dress blues, formal whites, or dungarees. I didn't understand back then, but I understand and appreciate it now. He was, and always will be my hero.

Happy Birthday Daddy. I love you and I miss you.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pua Gets Shagged

My Desk

Charlie's Desk

The Mug Rack

Charlie's Aquarium

Shag's "In Search of Tiki"

As I've shared in past posts, House of Tiki has gone through a rough couple of years. Thanks to some of our loyal Tiki Ohana, we've been able to keep our noses above water. Recently, we moved House of Tiki (again) to a smaller, more accessible and visible location. We were, for a year, in a warehouse location, and our place was next door to ShagMart. Piet Agle, Shag's bro, handles biz there, and was a very cool neighbor. Piet was kind enough to get Shag to sign one of his books for Averie when she graduated this past year, a gift that she treasures.

Anyway, when we moved the store, it was pretty rough. Wes worked day and night, sometimes 16 hour days to get us out of the old, and into the new, within a week. We were only "closed" for 2 days, which is a phenomenal feat. It was an Ohana effort, as all we had were Wes, myself, Charlie, and our kids, and one of Wes's friends to pack everything, unpack, and be ready for biz. We did it expecting no compensation, but as something you would do for ohana. That is the Aloha Spirit I was raised with and the very spirit I have always seen in my friend Wes.

The day after we re-opened, Wes said that he had to go and do an "install," which didn't seem out of the ordinary because he does a lot of tiki-style installation work for places like Trader Joe's, various tiki bars, and other clients who want that "look" for their homes. So, naturally, I stayed to man the shop.

Knowing that we had just transformed Averie's old room into an office/tiki room, Wes decided that we needed a special addition. Little did I know that he and Piet had worked together on a "mahalo" surprise for us. He saw Shag's new serigraph, "In Search of Tiki" and said that he knew the instant he saw it that it was meant for Charlie and I because of the couple in the canoe; a Polynesian girl and a Haole (non-Hawaiian...okay a white guy...I was just trying to be PC) man. Wes went to Piet who got him the art, and then went to my house to do the "install", all without my knowledge. When I got home that night, there in our Tiki Room/Office, in what was once a blank spot above Charlie's new aquarium, was this beautiful work of art with a note that said.."You've Been Shagged!" I was completely floored and needless to say thrilled. I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be lucky enough to get "Shagged". Especially not by my boss. With my husband's consent.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Finding Your Family For 50 Cents...Priceless

I admit that I stole this from Averie. She posted it on her blog back in October after a shopping trip with her boyfriend, Ryan. She wrote:

I go to thrift stores a lot. And now, well, with this economy, I don't know if I'll ever be able to shop anywhere else ever again.

I digress.

In thrift stores there are always shelves and shelves of LPs lining the back wall. I like to spend a few moments shopping the records for old 40s Christmas albums or sleeves that have ridiculous 70s hippie art.

As I'm walking I see what is clearly an old Hawaiian record and I shuffle over to snatch it up.

This is the album:

See that guy playing the drum? That's my great-grandfather.

Yeah...that's right.

The reason that it's so fitting to post it now is because she and Ryan surprised me and gave me this LP, framed, for Christmas. Yes, that IS indeed my grandfather, who was part of a trio known as "The Polynesians" back in the 50's and 60's, playing the drum. A fifty cent find for Averie....a priceless gift for me. She rocks, that kid.